Trials will soon bear fruit in Germany to speed up vaccination

Germany will end free Covid-19 screenings from October in hopes of relaunching a vaccination campaign that is slipping, the government and regions decided on Tuesday. As of this date, people who do not want to be vaccinated must pay a test that proves that they are negative for Covid-19 in order to go to the cinema, restaurant or gym.

Proof of vaccination or a negative test will also be required as soon as the infection threshold reaches 35 cases per 100,000 population over seven days. However, the free tests will remain in force for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, for pregnant women or children, according to the text adopted at the meeting between Angela Merkel and the sixteen heads of regional governments. As Germany now has sufficient doses of vaccines for all citizens, “we will end the free tests from October 11,” said the Chancellor.

And he said he expected “vaccination rates to increase dramatically again,” and said it was “everyone’s responsibility” to encourage vaccination. After vaccinating more than a million people a day at the peak of the campaign, the pace has slowed dramatically in Europe’s largest economy during the summer holidays. Some 52 million people have received at least one dose in the country, or 62.5% of the population, according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute for Public Health Surveillance.

For several weeks, the debate has swelled in the country about how to convince the reluctant without making vaccination mandatory, while infections and fears of a fourth wave of the pandemic rise. The incidence stood at 23.5 on Tuesday in the country, but some Länder, including the city-states of Berlin and Hamburg, have already exceeded the threshold of 35. Angela Merkel has more than once reaffirmed her opposition to a general obligation or partial to be vaccinated, as in France or Greece for nurses in particular.

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But the idea of ​​paid testing has been criticized, especially by the far right, as an indirect way of forcing reluctant people to get vaccinated to avoid being restricted in their freedom of movement. Merkel responded on Tuesday that immunized people cannot be asked to remain restricted because part of the population rejects the vaccine.

“We must also think about those who work in the hospital and it is excluded to overload the health system,” he insisted. By charging for tests in the future, Germany is taking a similar path to that of several European countries, including France, where a health pass is now required, for example to go to the cinema, coffee or take the train.

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